- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2014

Two teenage girls who were reportedly raped and abused before they were strung up and hung from a mango tree may have been victimized by family members who were carrying out honor killings, police said.

Anand Lal Bannerjee, the head of police in India’s Uttar Pradesh region, said only one of the girls had been raped, in contrast to earlier reports of the crime, which occurred about a month ago. He also said both girls, who were cousins, were actually strangled to death before they were hung from the tree, the Daily Mail reported.

Moreover, he added that the five men police have been seeking for over a month now in relation to the crime may actually be innocent — and that it’s emerging more likely that the killings were committed by family members.

Police say three brothers have already confessed to the crime, and officers are now going to investigate more family members using “narco-analysis,” or truth serum, the Daily Mail reported.

“It appears to be a case of honor killing,” Mr. Bannerjee said in a press conference. “We will conduct a lie-detection test on all the accused who have been arrested. If needed, we will take the accused to Bangalore for the test and get the results.”

The crime occurred weeks ago and shocked the nation — particularly when it was learned that police hesitated to launch a full investigation because the two victims were reportedly of a lower caste level, the Daily Mail reported. It’s not clear why the girls were targeted for honor killing, if in fact that theory bears truth.